Nîmes notes

a picture diary from a Roman town in the south of France


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The new Lebanon cedar of Jardins de la Fontaine

treeHere’s another picture from the end of September – although it looks pretty much same even in November, as these trees are evergreen.

The place is Jardins de la Fontaine, one of the most beautiful gardens of France. This part of the garden is a little forgotten, however. It’s a fairly large and calm square, with benches on the sides. The tree in the middle is a cedar tree that replaced the original 300 year old cedar of Lebanon that was destroyed a couple of years ago by heavy snow that fell suddenly in spring.

I was there the day before the tragedy. The wind was blowing very strongly, and the old tree that covered the square with its branches like a huge umbrella, made quite scary creaking sounds. We hurried up at the time, as it really sounded like it was coming down. During the night came the snow, and the next day the gardens were closed. Several trees had fallen, among them the old cedar tree. It was the year of the gardens 300th birthday, and the cedar tree had been one of the first trees to planted! So, it was a shame, but a tree has its life span. Now we just wait for the new cedar to grow as grand as the previous.


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Chrysanthemums

mumsThis one comes a little late, but as the flowers are so beautiful, I’ll add it anyway.

The chrysanthemums were out on the street for the All Saints Day, or La Toussaint. This year I didn’t go to the graves, but here you can see a picture from last year. At the time we by chance found the grave of Nîmes’ hero, the legendary French bullfighter Nimeno II.


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First death

cicadas…or, when the body left the body…

It’s again the time, when the young cicadas emerge their nymph skins to become fully adults, and the empty nymph skins are seen on tree trunks, grasses and under the benches. Here, in the Jardins de la Fontaine in Nîmes.

The nymph skins are surprisingly small, so first it’s difficult to notice them. In the photo on the right,  there are two skins. Can you find them? And above there are more, like the cicadas had been climbing up the tree…

So, now the singing of the cicadas gets even louder? Well, that’s the sound of summer!


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Weeping willow by the Nemausa spring

jardins de la fontaine, weepingwillowThe best thing to do on a rainy day is to go out for a walk. Take your umbrella, stop by a book store, and go to the nearby garden. Here in Nîmes the biggest garden/park is Jardins de la Fontaine, or the Fountain gardens. Signs of spring are everywhere… like here, where the weeping willow is blooming.

The pool is actually a real spring, and the very spot where the city got its start: a celtic tribe had built a village around the sacred spring dedicated to the goddess of Nemausa, and the Romans continued the work by building a bath complex with a library and a theater, and expanding the city of Nemausus further.

In the 18th century a civic park à la française was built in the same place, and nowadays it’s a place for all the citoyans to spend time and relax. Even on a rainy day!